If you are trying to find activities to keep you occupied during your leisure time, then it is best to consider gardening. Gardening has many benefits: promotes relaxation, fitness and producing delicious and wholesome food. According to studies, planting and cultivation can strengthen muscles, joints, and bones, prevents falls and improve balance, decrease the incidence of lifestyle diseases and overall promotes long and healthy lives.
“In our busy, hectic world, we are rarely fully present, but gardening gives us the opportunity to connect with nature and experience mindfulness.” Marion Rodrigue, LMHC, NCC, said. Gardening is also considered to be total body work out since it will involve moving around, digging, planting, weeding and watering. Also, you will appreciate your energy expenditure through harvest and produce. Another benefit of gardening is achieving the more relaxed state of mind. It might be credited to the exposure of sunlight and activated of vitamin D as well as its effects on the cortisol level in the body.
It is undeniable how advantageous it is to have a garden, and the next question is how to start one when you don’t have any horticulture and agriculture background.
Decide what type of garden to grow
Some gardens are made to produce fruits and vegetables for the consumption of the family or community while others want to have a garden to beautify their property.
Pick a sunny spot
“Exposure to nature enhances the ability to cope with and heal from stress and recover from injury or illness more quickly,” says Dr. Carlene Taylor, LMHC, LPC, CPCS, NCC. Choose a location that has direct sunlight and access to the water source. Since synthetic fertilizers will not be used in this garden, it is essential that the soil is healthy and fertile as possible. Make sure to keep in mind that an organic garden will entail extra workload than a garden that uses fertilizers and pesticides. Tilling is also an essential process to break and loosen the soil, remove clods and rocks and to pull out stray weeds and grass.
Compost is the organic garden’s best friend
Compost is essential because it will serve as a fertilizer, mulch and weed preventer. It is possible to create a compost pile to get your fertilizer, or you can easily purchase some organic fertilizers in the stores. Since the natural garden will not have the benefit of synthetic fertilizers, the compost must be integrated deeply into the soil. This is done again by tilling the ground the second time. Dig about 6 to 10 inches from the surface. Then, spread about 2 to 4 inches of compost all over the whole garden. Make several passes to work it well.
Divide into beds
Divide your garden into beds, leaving full paths in between. One method to keep stray plants and weeds out of your garden is to cover the pathway with newspapers and straw.
Weeds and Pests
The tilling and the placement of compost may have disrupted the weed seeds, bacteria, and fungus in the soil; however, to further ensure that these elements won’t be a problem in the future. It is recommended to solarize the soil. It means heating the ground enough to kill weed seeds and soil-borne disease. It is often done by using heavy black plastic over the beds. It is advisable to leave the plastic for a few weeks or if possible, for months.
“The gardening experience also allows for experimentation in life and death, promotes teamwork, and a nonjudgmental environment for students learn; thereby starting the process of connection to nature and to others.” –Theresa Hasting, LMHC